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Canada

The Ministry of Transport is rocked by another storm

Five years after the Charbonneau commission, things are still going badly at the Department of Transport. The investigations division has been decimated, the work climate is deemed toxic and there are fears of a return to collusion in public contracts.

The Investigations Division is now referred to as an “empty shell” by sources who have confided in us.

In August 2018, there were five investigators at the Quebec Ministry of Transport (MTQ). Since last year, only one active remains. Executives also left the ship.

It is not yesterday that there are problems within this ministry. Several collusion scandals had preceded the Commission of Inquiry into the Granting and Management of Public Contracts in the Construction Industry, chaired by France Charbonneau.

The Auditor General also denounced the excessive bureaucracy of the MTQ and the difficulty of properly managing the monitoring of public contracts. Still, the situation does not appear to have improved.

“Today, the ministry no longer wants to know if there is collusion and corruption in the contracts”, says a former investigator who agreed to speak on condition of anonymity, for fear of reprisals .

Our Bureau of Investigation notably had access to documents in addition to collecting multiple testimonies describing the serious problems in the direction of the investigations over the past two years.

End of investigations

The role of these investigators is to intervene following a complaint related to collusion and corruption that may target contracts and firms across the country, but also to detect and prevent anomalies, fraud, embezzlement and other acts. dishonest.

They could intervene on construction sites following complaints, such as the Turcot interchange in Montreal.

For two years, whole sections of the investigation have been abandoned. Some are also worried that collusion is back in force, due to the lack of closer monitoring by investigators at the heart of the MTQ to respond to complaints.

The management of conflicts of interest at the MTQ in the awarding of public contracts had been severely scratched by the commissioners of the Charbonneau commission.

As a result of these events, the investigation division had been restructured.

An operation that was concluded with the suspension of former deputy minister Dominique Savoie in 2016, targeted by allegations of intimidation and manipulation in investigations. She was then reinstated elsewhere in the public service.

This change of guard was to ease tensions. However, the exact opposite has happened.

“It got worse,” describes a source.

This redevelopment was unsuccessful, other accounts indicate.

Some investigators also complained that their reports were edited by management without their consent. These allegations are found in harassment complaints that have been submitted to the Public Service Commission.

For its part, the MTQ assures that there has been no job abolition, but refuses to explain why the majority of positions have been vacant for 18 months.

“There has been a reorganization of positions within the organization […] There are six positions dedicated to investigators, four of which are vacant, and one in the staffing process, ”says spokesperson Émilie Lord.

Fewer surveys

The MTQ's investigation department had obtained the mandate to investigate the Val-Alain pileup in 2019.

Archive photo

The MTQ’s investigation department had obtained the mandate to investigate the Val-Alain pileup in 2019.

This whole saga has greatly diminished the ministry’s investigative capacity over the past two years, our sources add.

Yet Quebec continues to pay top dollar to consulting engineering firms, while increasing the hiring of young, inexperienced engineers to manage projects and contracts.

Despite the absence of investigators, the MTQ ensures that it is able to respond to all types of investigations and that there are now other entities such as the Autorité des marchés publics and the Québec Ombudsman. The organization also relies on a division of contractual rules.

Our sources confirm that only the audit section survived this purge, but not without contention.

A cascade of departures

February 2019

Departure of an investigator

March 2019

Harassment investigation

May 2019

Departure of the Director of Investigations

May 2019

Investigators learn management will be reshuffled

May 2019

Departure of two investigators

June 2019

External investigation for harassment suspended

July 2019

Departure of a fourth investigator

2020

Departure of Deputy Minister

Former employees empty their hearts

Over the past few weeks, our Bureau of Investigation has spoken to ex-investigators who have lost their hearts on the situation at the Department of Transportation’s investigations and their fears of a return to collusion. All of them wanted to remain anonymous for fear of employer reprisals.

Contracts were combed through. There were complaints relating to rigged contracts. We had access to all the witnesses, both from the firms and the MTQ. Today, the ministry no longer wants to know if there is collusion and corruption in contracts. “

It is not true that AMP [Autorité des marchés publics] can intervene in all cases. “

When the director announced his departure, they decided that the Investigations Directorate would no longer exist. That they no longer needed inquiries. “

It was always the confrontation. The work climate was difficult and unhealthy. “

A deputy minister criticized by Legault

While in opposition, François Legault had fired red bullets on Deputy Minister Marc Lacroix, appointed by the Liberals a year earlier.

This outing took place after the publication of the report of the Auditor General (VG) of Quebec which affirmed that the Ministry of Transport was afflicted with a heavy bureaucracy and that it made difficult the management of public contracts.

The CAQ leader said that Mr. Lacroix did not have the skills to relaunch the MTQ liner in order to ensure the sound management of public contracts. He added that he owed his career to his liberal affinities.

“Apart from his liberal political allegiance, what are the skills of Mr. Lacroix? Criticized the current prime minister. Once elected, the CAQ government nevertheless trusted Mr. Lacroix until his retirement in January 2020. Marc Lacroix is ​​defending himself today. “I was retained. I’ve even been honored for my entire career, he described. The period covered by the VG report was my predecessor’s report. It was not me. I was appointed to redress a situation. “

Complaints and a toxic climate

Investigators who have filed a complaint for psychological harassment and denounced a toxic climate at the Ministry of Transport have seen their positions revoked. This saga is now found before the Public Service Commission.

It was during the reign of former Deputy Minister Marc Lacroix that the MTQ’s investigation department was cut. The division was in the midst of a storm, however.

An external investigation had just been opened due to complaints of psychological harassment.

The skills of this deputy minister had been harshly criticized by François Legault when he was in the opposition.

Bullying

In March 2019, the first complaints for psychological harassment were reported to the ministerial respondent in the matter at the MTQ. Survey managers are targeted.

Three employees were then told that their positions had been abolished, or were placed elsewhere in the department.

At least four complaints have recently been lodged with the Public Service Commission (PSC) following this decision.

Serious allegations

Victims claim that superiors constantly denigrated their work.

Under pressure from managers, some allege having submitted truncated reports.

“The versions of the people involved were sometimes withdrawn”, specifies a source.

Investigators feared that these documents would damage the ministry and their own reputation. These allegations must be investigated before the PSC.

A former executive said, however, that running the department was difficult due to a group of employees causing problems.

Another source maintains that the problems have been deep within the team for a long time. Despite the departure of employees and managers, nothing has changed.

Marc Lacroix could be called to testify in court. He declined to comment on the matter.

Categories
Headline USA Politics

Woman posing as police officer and another armed man arrested in Washington | The State

There are extreme security measures in Washington.

Photo:
NDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS / Getty Images

Authorities in Washington DC this weekend arrested a woman posing as a police officer and a second armed man near the Capitol, after detaining another on Friday, who said he had been lost.

The Washington Post reported this Sunday of the two new arrests in the center of the American capital, turned into an armored fortress against the risk of new armed attacks in the days before the inauguration on Wednesday of the president-elect of the USA, Joe Biden.

However, for now it has not been confirmed that any of the three detainees had a clear intention to provoke new episodes of violence in the capital or who were radical supporters of outgoing President Donald Trump, such as those who stormed the Capitol on the 6th.

The last man arrested, identified as Guy Berry, was carrying a Glock 22 pistol, three high-capacity magazines and 37 rounds of unregistered ammunition, according to Washington Police, the Post said.

Berry walked early Sunday morning down Massachusetts Avenue, less than a mile (from the Capitol, with his gun “clearly visible” in a holster, according to police.

In the District of Columbia, where Washington is located, it is prohibited to carry weapons in public if they are not concealed; and Berry was arrested for carrying an unlicensed pistol, possessing high-capacity magazines, and having unregistered ammunition.

The other detainees

The day before, on Saturday morning, a woman was detained at one of the access points to the wide fenced perimeter that covers all of downtown Washington, in her case, very close to the Capitol.

The woman, who has not been identified, said she was a security agent and presented the agents with a pocket medallion sometimes owned by military commanders.

The suspect tried to drive away in her vehicle when she saw that the Capitol Police did not believe her story, but she was detained and charged with impersonating ar a police or security officer, for not obeying an agent of the law and for fleeing from him.

The two new arrests are added to that of another man, Wesley allen beeler, which police accused of trying to enter the fenced perimeter of downtown Washington on Friday with at least one weapon and more than 500 bullets.

However, Beeler assured the Washington Post this Saturday that he only approached the checkpoint located near the Capitol because he had gotten lost in the capital, where he had come from Virginia to work as a security agent for a private company during the inauguration. .

“It was an innocent mistake,” said Beeler, adding that he does have a license to carry weapons, but he had forgotten it at home, and that it is not true that he had more than 500 bullets in the car, as stated by the Police.

Washington and the capitals of the 50 states of the country were on high alert this weekend, after a newsletter from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) indicated that it had information on “armed protests” planned throughout the nation between this Saturday and Wednesday 20.

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Categories
Headline USA New York

Yankees open portfolio to sign another ace and extend batting champion | The State

DJ LeMahieu hit .364 in the 2020 shortened season.

Photo:
Sarah Stier / Getty Images

After failing for the fourth year in a row in the Major League Baseball playoffs, the Yankees begin to flex their muscles, or rather, to open its deep portfolio with a view to the 2021 season. The team, according to reports, is about to sign a contract extension with its best hitter and add a pitcher who has won two Cy Young trophies.

It was first reported that second baseman DJ LeMahieu, who was the 2020 AL hitting champion with a .364 average, and the team are finalizing a six-year, $ 90 million contract extension. LeMahieu had turned down an offer for one year and $ 19 million.

The news comes in the week that neighboring Mets acquired a superstar in Puerto Rican infielder Francisco Lindor.

It was later reported that the Yankees will sign the starting pitcher for one season. Corey Kluber, 2014 and 2017 Cy Young winner with the Cleveland Indians. The deal would be for $ 11 million.

Kluber saw virtually no action in 2020 with the Rangers due to injury, but if the 34-year-old right-hander passes the physical and enters the season healthy, he would give New York’s rotation one more important link.

The Yankees haven’t reached a World Series since 2009.

READ MORE:

Yankees announce donations for Bronx families and small businesses

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Categories
Headline USA

He scored a goal and provided assistance: another great game from “Chucky” Lozano, the new hero of Naples | The State

The “Chucky” with a goal and an assist was the figure Napoli’s triumph for 3-2 against Empoli and get the ticket for the quarterfinals of the Italian Cup.

Gennaro Gattuso’s team had to suffer to defeat Empoli, which leads the classification of the Italian second division.

Lozano, new account holder in the Neapolitan eleven, shook the wood at seven minutes and offered at 18 un perfect center for Giovanni Di Lorenzo, formerly from Empoli, will sign the advantage goal.

After the momentary draw of the Swiss Nedim Bajrami, The Mexican was in charge of making it 2-1 with a powerful shot that struck the goalkeeper. A great goal.

Eighth goal for “Chucky“, Who has already become an essential element in Gattuso’s staff, after several difficult months lived last year.

In the quarterfinals, Napoli will face off with the winner of Roma-Spezia, which are measured next Tuesday, January 19.

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Categories
Headline USA

Ferdinando Valencia wants to have another baby with Brenda Kellerman | The State

The actor Ferdinando Valencia declared his desire to become a father again, and confessed that, together with his partner Brenda kellerman, is already writing to the stork.

In an interview for the Mexican program TODAY, The actor pointed out that he and Brenda are more than determined to have a new member in their family and give their little son a new brother. Thaddeus.

In 2019, the couple lost Dante, one of his twins, due to bacterial meningitis, which was caused by a Medical negligence.

Through social networks, the couple share photos and videos of their little family, always keeping in mind the memory of their little baby. Dante.

Currently, the Mexican is immersed in recordings of the telenovela ‘La Mexicana and El Güero’, thus starting the year with work and future plans with his beautiful wife.

Keep reading:

They reveal if Gabriel Soto was unfaithful to Irina Baeva with a sex video

Lucía Méndez shows off her first granddaughter on Instagram

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Categories
Headline USA Politics

Footage reveals moment police officer dragged into the MAGA mob as another leads them away

Shocking new footage shows a police officer being yanked out of the building and beaten with a flagpole bearing the American flag, as it emerged that another officer’s quick-thinking inside the building may have saved Senators’ lives.

The footage, circulating online, shows the moment the first officer was hauled out of a door on Wednesday afternoon, and set upon by the frenzied mob of Donald Trump’s supporters.

Fears were mounting on Sunday night that another violent insurrection was being planned for January 17 – Trump’s last weekend in office – after analysts found plots being discussed online. 

In the clip the officer, believed to be from the DC Metropolitan Police, was flung face first onto the steps and set upon by rioters, who beat him while he was lying defenseless. 

One used a black baton on him. Another man is seen giving the middle finger to officers still inside the building, desperately trying to keep the mob back.

The unnamed officer is dragged from the building, as rioters look down to him at their feet

Eugene Goodman is seen running away from the mob, leading them from the Senate

Eugene Goodman is seen running away from the mob, leading them from the Senate

Brian Sicknick, 42, died in the chaos

Brian Sicknick, 42, died in the chaos

The officer dragged from the Capitol has not been identified, but is believed to be a member of the DC Metropolitan Police, not the Capitol Police.

DailyMail.com has asked both Capitol Police and DC Metropolitan Police for comment, but the forces are yet to respond. 

One Capitol Police officer, Brian Sicknick, died Thursday night from injuries suffered during the riot. Sicknick, 42, was hit in the head with a fire extinguisher during a struggle, two law enforcement officials told Associated Press.

A second member of the Capitol Police, Howard Liebengood, was on duty on Wednesday and died by suicide on Saturday. 

Four rioters also died – one woman shot by Capitol Police, and three during medical emergencies. One of those was apparently trampled in the melee.

A baying mob was outside the Capitol on Wednesday as some managed to burst inside

A baying mob was outside the Capitol on Wednesday as some managed to burst inside

Rioters scaled the walls and dragged one officer outside, beating him with flags and flagpoles

Rioters scaled the walls and dragged one officer outside, beating him with flags and flagpoles

Teargas was eventually deployed to push the rioters back from the Capitol

Teargas was eventually deployed to push the rioters back from the Capitol

At around the same time as the police officer was being dragged from the Capitol and set upon, Trump was recording a video in which he said he ‘loved’ the rioters.

The video was later removed by Twitter, and Trump has since been banned from social media due to his incendiary comments. 

Amid the carnage, an incredible story of bravery emerged.

Eugene Goodman was filmed by a reporter alone, trying to fend off the ferocious crowd as they stormed the building. 

Armed apparently only with a baton, he is charged by the mob, with Doug Jensen, 41, of Des Moines, Iowa, leading the charge in a QAnon hoodie. Jensen was arrested on Saturday.

Goodman appears to have noticed that the rioters came right up to the entrance of an open door leading straight to the Senate.

At that moment, 2:15pm, according to a detailed analysis by The Washington Post, the Senate doors were unlocked as security tried frantically to protect the Senators inside. 

Goodman is seen glancing to his left, and seeing the door is unlocked.

He then shoves the advancing Jensen and runs away, provoking Jensen to follow him. 

An enraged Jensen runs after him and away from the unlocked Senate door, with the mob following.

At 2:16pm the Senate chamber door was locked.

Doug Jensen was arrested on Saturday, having led the mob against Eugene Goodman

Doug Jensen was arrested on Saturday, having led the mob against Eugene Goodman 

Jensen, a QAnon fanatic, was inspired by the conspiracy theory to carry out the violent attack

Jensen, a QAnon fanatic, was inspired by the conspiracy theory to carry out the violent attack

Goodman was widely praised on social media, with mounting calls for him to be awarded the Medal of Valor or Medal of Honor. 

‘Thank you, Officer Eugene Goodman,’ tweeted Bernice King, the daughter of Martin Luther King.

Benjamin Crump, the crusading civil rights lawyer known for representing the families of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and others, heaped praise on the officer.  

‘Eugene Goodman deserves the Medal of Valor!’ he said. 

‘He could have stepped aside and let Trump insurgents get to the Senate chamber while Senators were still there. Instead, this heroic officer got them to follow him the other direction, giving lawmakers time to escape!’

And Jaime Harrison, former candidate for the Senate representing South Carolina, said he may have single-handedly ‘saved our Republic’.  

‘The word hero does not appropriately describe officer Eugene Goodman,’ he said. 

‘His judgment & heroism may have saved our Republic. 

‘I hope consider him for the Congressional Medal of Honor. It is the least we can do.’ 

And serious questions were being asked as to how the Capitol Police and the DC Metropolitan forces were so ill prepared for the onslaught.

A new analysis of social media posts by Alethea Group, an organization combating disinformation that draws its name from the Greek word for ‘truth,’ found abundant evidence of threatening plans on a range of platforms, with some scheduled for Joe Biden’s inauguration on January 20, and others for Trump’s last weekend in office – January 17.

‘REFUSE TO BE SILENCED,’ said one online post cited by Alethea Group, calling for an ‘ARMED MARCH ON CAPITOL HILL & ALL STATE CAPITOLS’ for January 17, the last Sunday of Trump’s presidency. 

Another post called for action at ‘DC & All State Capitols’ and was signed by ‘common folk who are tired of being tread upon’ declares: ‘We were warned!’ 

Categories
Headline USA New York North Carolina

Hispanic arrested for defrauding old woman to “get her grandson out of jail” by calling from New York to another state | The State

Anderson Espinal Corona

Photo:
Suffolk County Police / Courtesy

Anderson Espinal Corona was arrested on Long Island as a suspect in a new case of telephone scam, under the modality of asking elderly people for money to pay bail for alleged relatives.

The arrest occurred one day after New York Attorney General Letitia James warned older people about the so-called “grandparent scam.”

Espinal’s apparent victim was an 80-year-old woman from North Carolina, who asked for $ 5,200, falsely telling her that her grandson had been arrested for driving while intoxicated and that he needed to send money for his bond, county police said. Suffolk (NY).

Espinal (28) was arrested on Thursday and charged with attempting to grand theft in third grade. He is scheduled to be tried in the First District Court in Central Islip at a later date.

Authorities said the unidentified 80-year-old woman received a call Wednesday from a person claiming to be her grandson who had been arrested for drunk driving after an alleged car accident that left one injured.

The caller then put another on the phone who said she was an attorney and needed $ 5,200 to release her grandson, police said in a statement. The grandmother received instructions to put the money in a book in a box and send it by mail to the address of Greenlawn Terrace, where Espinal lives.

Suffolk County financial crime detectives intercepted the package, removed the money and allowed the box to be delivered. When Espinal, who lives at that address, went to pick it up, they arrested him. The money will be returned to the victim.

The widespread phone scam is aimed at older people who receive calls from usurpers posing as a grandchild in trouble and asking them to send money immediately to “fix” the situation or to dictate their card numbers. Usually They say the alleged relative was arrested and needs to post bail, or is financially distressed because of a need or assault.

In other cases, the scammer may pose as the same relative, or as a lawyer, a surety or a law enforcement officer who communicates with the grandfather on his behalf, he detailed. Newsday. Most calls are made in the middle of the night or early in the morning when the victim may not be attentive enough to ask questions, said James

New Yorkers are urged to be alert and if they have been the target of scams to file a complaint before the Office of Protection and Consumer Fraud of the Attorney General’s Office or by calling 800-771-7755.

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Categories
California Georgia Headline USA New York Politics

Joe Biden adds another Hispanic from California to his government cabinet | The State

The president-elect completed his list of nominees this Friday by adding another Latina.

Photo:
Scott Eisen / Getty Images

The president-elect of the United States, Joe Biden, completed this Friday the nominations for his cabinet, which will be the most diverse in the country’s history and the first with gender parity, and revealed that he was about to include Senator Bernie Sanders in it, but did not want to jeopardize Democratic control of the Senate.

As promised, and I have kept that promise, this is a cabinet that represents what America is like. And take advantage of the full range of potential we have in our nationBiden said during a press conference in Wilmington, Delaware.

Twelve of Biden’s 24 nominees for his cabinet are women, and less than half of all appointees are white, of which there are four are Latino. All of them will have to be confirmed by the Senate, with a very narrow Democratic majority, to be able to fill their positions in the coming weeks.

Biden completed his list of cabinet nominees on Friday by announcing that he had chosen Marty walsh as Secretary of Labor, to Gina raimondo as Secretary of Commerce and Isabel guzman as director of the US Small Business Administration.

The president-elect also revealed that he was very serious about nominating Bernie Sanders as Secretary of Labor, his most important rival in last year’s Democratic primary and one of the most influential progressive figures in the country.

“I’m sure he would have done a great job; I can’t think of a more passionate and dedicated worker ally in this country, ”Biden said.

However, after seeing the result of the elections this Tuesday in Georgia, which gave the Democrats control of the Senate by the minimum, decided he couldn’t risk vacating the seat for Vermont that Sanders occupies, and that the Republicans could perhaps conquer him and take away the reins of the Upper House.

The Secretary of Labor that he nominated in his place is Marty Walsh, the current mayor of Boston and who has the backing of the great unions in the country.

Biden also announced this Friday to the first Latin woman in his cabinet, Isabel Guzmán, who joins the other three Hispanics who had already been nominated by the president-elect, two of whom were already from the golden state, such as Alejandro Mayorkas nominated for secretary of national security, and Xavier Becerra nominated as secretary of Health, in addition of the Hispanic of Connecticut, Miguel Cardona as Secretary of Education.

Guzman “He grew up in California, working alongside his father in the small veterinary businesses he built“, And now she is the director of the office of the small business advocate in that western state, explained Biden.

As to Gina raimondo, chosen by Biden to lead the Commerce Department, is the current governor of the state of Rhode Island and was one of the candidates that Biden considered as vice president.

READ MORE
Historic displacement: Trump confirms that he will not go to the inauguration of Biden and with it resurfaces requests that he be removed
New York will give way to the second phase of vaccination on Monday at the worst moment of the second wave of COVID-19

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Categories
Sports UK

Fernandes “very sad and disappointed” at Man Utd after another semi-final loss

Bruno Fernandes has called on Manchester United to stop making “the same mistakes” as they crashed out of another semi-final.

The Portuguese experienced his third semi-final defeat in less than a year as a United player on Wednesday night, when Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side went down 2-0 to neighbours Manchester City in the Carabao Cup.

City also beat United at the same stage of the same competition last season, but that was before Fernandes arrived.

The former Sporting Lisbon star was, however, in the United sides that lost to Chelsea in the last four of the FA Cup and Sevilla in the semis of the Europa League following the restart to last season, and he says his side can’t keep losing in such a manner.

“I’m very sad and disappointed to once again don’t reach a final,” Fernandes posted on Instagram on Thursday evening.

“We have a lot to fight yet but we have to learn and understand that we can’t make the same mistakes anymore.

Fernandes has been on the losing side in three semi-finals since joining United

“We need to make an effort to further improve and be able to fight for trophies!”

Fernandes played for the full 90 minutes as Solskjaer again hoped that his key man could spark his side into life, and former United defender Gary Neville says his old teammate doesn’t really have a choice over continually selecting the playmaker.

“I don’t think anybody could think one person would have the impact on this Manchester United team [that he has],” Neville told Sky Sports.

“We all thought we’d need four or five players yet, with him in the team, they feel unbeatable. Without him they’re nowhere near as good.

“The one problem Ole has is he can’t rotate him. In any game that matters he has to play.”

Will United win a trophy under Solskjaer? Have your say in the comments below

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UAE

One dies, another critical in cooking gas cylinder blast in Sharjah

Sharjah: One person has died and another seriously injured in an explosion caused by a leakage in a cooking gas cylinder at a scrap shop in Al Sajja area in Sharjah, officials said.

The accident occurred on December 28. The person died on January 2 and his body was moved to the forensic laboratory on January 5.

The 25-year-old victim, F.M.M., was from Pakistan. The injured person was identified as F.H.Sh., aged 29 years. He is in a critical condition and remains in the intensive care unit (ICU) of Al Qassimi Hospital.

The owner of the shop, R.F., told Gulf News that his son-in-law [the deceased] was cutting the 50-pound gas cylinder, to be sold as scrap, when the incident occurred. His friend was sitting with him chatting at the time.

Then explosion took place around 8.15am. The owner said that he received a call from his son-in-law, who told him that he was burning and asked him to call the ambulance.

The owner immediately contacted National Ambulance. F.M.M. was admitted to the hospital at 10.35am in a critical condition. He died of his injuries on January 2 at 5.45pm and his body moved to forensic laboratory.

Al Sajja Police station has launched an investigation over the incident.